China to activate world’s first clean Nuclear Reactor

Scientist of the Chinese government has unveiled plans for an experimental nuclear reactor that does not require water for cooling. This reactor will run on liquid thorium instead of uranium and is expected to be safer than the traditional reactors. As molten salt, when exposed to air, cools and solidifies quickly thus insulating the thorium, causing any potential leak to spill very little radiation into the environment compared to the leaks from traditional reactors.

Highlights

  • It is expected that this prototype reactor will be completed in August and the first tests will begin in September.
  • This testing will pave the way for building the first such commercial reactor which is slated for construction by the year 2030. As water is not required by this type of reactor, it will be able to operate in desert regions.
  • The desert city of Wuwei has been selected as the location of the first l reactor, and the Chinese government plans to build more such reactors across the plains and deserts of western China.
  • A team at the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics have developed this prototype.

About Thorium

Thorium is a radioactive, silvery metal which has been named after the Norse god of thunder Thor. It is more abundant and much cheaper than uranium, and it cannot be easily used to create nuclear weapons.

Molten-salt reactors

Molten-salt reactors, instead of using fuel rods, work by dissolving thorium into a liquid fluoride salt before sending this mixture into the reactor’s chamber at temperatures which is above 600 degrees Celsius.

 

President Xi Jinping’s plans to make China carbon-neutral by the year 2060 and this new reactor is a part of that plan.

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